- By Dana Sparks
Sharing Mayo Clinic: Testicular cancer survivor encourages men to notice the signs
Steve Larson was stunned when he received a diagnosis of testicular cancer in his mid-30s. Prompt treatment cured his disease, and now he's urging other men to get checked if they have symptoms of this highly treatable form of cancer.
After he finished digging out from a snowstorm last year, Steve Larson, 35, an active, healthy father of three from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, began developing what he thought were symptoms of a hernia. The pain subsided, so he didn't immediately seek medical care. But when the discomfort in his groin area returned, Steve knew it was time to see a doctor.
"Getting checked out for a hernia is how it started — the pain associated with that," Steve says. "They did some scans. I met with the urologist, who suspected that it was not a hernia, and that's when they saw a mass on one of my testicles."
That mass — roughly the size of a large grape — turned out to be cancerous and sent Steve on a journey he never saw coming. The news stunned him. He exercised regularly. He didn't smoke. He had no family history of cancer.
"I was definitely very shocked and surprised at first. No one expects that," he says. "But what was comforting was the confidence that my care staff had from the beginning."
Steve remembers his team informing him of his diagnosis — stage 2 testicular cancer — in a calm, pragmatic manner and stating the facts. One of those facts stuck with him.
"If you want to be diagnosed with cancer, this is what you want to be diagnosed with because of survivability. It's basically always treatable," he recalls them saying.